The case was taken up yesterday before the three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda and Justice L.T.B. Dehideniya.
Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment Ranjan Ramanayake was in Court when the case was called.
The Attorney General presented an evidence list consisting of 14 individuals and eight items, including four CDs containing the Deputy Minister’s statement and four news reports from newspapers containing the statement.
The Supreme Court ordered to hear the case on 10, 11 and 12 December, while six representatives, two TV channels, who have been named as witnesses were issued notice to appear in Court on the said dates.
President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran, appearing on behalf of the Deputy Minister, informed the Court that the statement in question was repeatedly broadcast over and over again by a number of TV channels and therefore those institutions should also be charged with Contempt of Court.
The Court stated that matter will be considered later.
Two petitions were filed against the Deputy Minister by Sinhala Ravaya and retired Air Force Officer Sunil Perera alleging that Ramanayake vehemently insulted the reputation of the Judiciary and lawyers at a press conference held on 21 August last year.
The petitions highlighted the fact that such defamatory statements will shatter public confidence and provide a distorted image of the Judiciary to the people of the country. Ramanayake has pleaded not guilty to the charges.